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Sometimes people compare degree of something (an intent/feeling/etc) by giving completely unrelated example (by using "same way as" or "like").

Is something like "The boy wants that bicycle like a fish needs water" considered okay? Or I should always keep same verb: "The boy needs that bicycle like a fish needs water"?

  • @YosefBaskin question was is constructions like that acceptable (make sense?). "The boy wants that bicycle like a fish needs water" (different verbs) or "The boy needs that bicycle like a fish needs water" – mushi.f Feb 10 '17 at 18:38
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The construction is better the first way:

The boy wants that bicycle like a fish needs water.

No parallel is needed more than using the two verbs wants and needs. Does the boy need the bicycle, or does he want it so much that to him it is life-sustaining? He wants it, that's all. The fact that a fish truly needs water but the boy does not truly need the bicycle produces the irony. The verbs are parallel in construction -- they do not need to be identical.

To say that "the boy needs that bicycle like a fish needs water" is not accurate, but it is correct English.

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